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Posts Tagged ‘generosity’

‘I can’t believe I’m getting a piano!’ our daughter commented at her recent birthday celebration.

A piano of her own was something our daughter had wanted for a long time. There has always been one in our home and, as a child, she had music lessons. Then as a teenager, she had chosen to have more, this time just to enjoy learning to play certain songs she loved. Soon, however, she moved out of home and eventually married and had children, yet she still loved to sit down at our piano from time to time when she visited and play.

Then one day recently, a friend of mine put a post on Facebook, asking if anyone would be interested in having her piano, as she planned to move and could not take it with her. At first, I hesitated. I knew our daughter could not afford to pay anything for it. And surely my friend would not be prepared to give it away?

Yet that is exactly what happened.

‘I just want my piano to go to a good home,’ she explained. ‘Someone kindly left it to me in her will, so I’d like to pass it on now in the same spirit it was passed onto me.’

Eventually, a removalist was engaged and that piano wended its way to our daughter’s home, where it fitted in a corner of her living room as if it belonged. After a tuning, it will sound even better. And one day, our grandchildren will hopefully learn to play as well.

Recently too, I witnessed another happy moment in our daughter’s life when our daughter-in-law passed on several boxes of girls’ clothes to her that her own daughters had long grown out of.

‘Oh, that’s so good!’ our daughter exclaimed. ‘The other day, my friend passed on lots of excellent boys’ clothes to us too.’

As it happens, many of these have hardly been worn and are designer label clothes our daughter could not afford to buy. So, once her son and daughter have grown out of them, she passes them on in turn to other friends who are always grateful to receive them for their children.

Seeing these events unfold in our daughter’s life caused me to reflect on my own attitude towards passing on not only material possessions that may benefit others but also all those spiritual blessings I have received. Sometimes, I suspect I like to cling to things that have been and are precious to me, rather than think of others’ needs. Sometimes, I can be stingy rather than generous. In particular, sometimes I can forget how someone bothered to share the good news of Jesus with me, rather than keep it to themselves. And sometimes, I can even forget how freely God’s love and grace were poured out on me and how this love and grace needs to flow on through me to others.

May I always remember that generosity of heart I witnessed recently and pay it forward myself with joy and gratitude.

Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8

The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped. Proverbs 11:24-25 The Message

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Recently I received a very lovely compliment. After responding to a friend’s email with a long one of my own, she emailed again and began with the words: Thanks Jo-Anne. You always put such a lot into your letters. You write generously. I was so glad she felt that way, because I do love to let people know their emails have truly been ‘heard’ and taken seriously. Yes they do take time to write, but in my opinion it is time well spent. And of course I simply love writing anyway.

Her response reminded me of another writer friend’s comment when we first began emailing each other. She so appreciated my emails, she told me – she hated ‘those two-liner things’ and always felt ripped off by them! So while some, including myself, may think my emails are far too wordy and wonder why I don’t get straight to the point, others seem happy that I write ‘generously’.

But not all of us like writing, I know. For some, it is a chore to be avoided. But there are many ways to reach out to others with generosity. Perhaps you are able to share your finances with others who need a little help, just as Jesus himself urged us to. Recently, in gathering material for my current non-fiction book, I read through my old journals and noted the way God has cared for me over the years through the financial generosity of others. I was reminded of a young single girl who was convinced God wanted her to pay for me to attend a three week prayer ministry school, costing several hundred dollars. At first I felt terrible taking advantage of her offer, but I did – and I have been grateful ever since for the insights this school gave me. She knew God was preparing me for something during this school – and she was right. And I know she felt blessed by the way God has used that gift she gave me many times over since then.

And what about our abilities and expertise? It can make such a difference if someone will walk beside us and share the knowledge they have gleaned over the years. When I was first starting out as an author, another much more experienced author very generously helped me with information and introduced me to her own contacts. I valued that so much and now try to do the same for others. What a joy it is to do this and know I have saved someone hours and hours of trying to find out the same information I was able to give them so easily!

Then there is our time too – that most precious of commodities in our busy world. How special is it when someone is prepared to sit down with us and truly hear what is happening in our lives? In writing my current book, I have thought in particular of the many, many hours my special spiritual mentor spent talking with me over the past fifteen years. How generous she was with her time – and how much I owe her for the amazing impact she has had on my life!

In 2 Corinthians 9:6, Paul writes the following:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

I have found this so true in my life. And I am determined to continue being as generous as possible in my email writing and with whatever other resources God has given me.

How about you? Are you living life generously?

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